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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

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Flashes/Figure Eights on bridles serve as a way to keep the horses mouth closed, like if your horse gapes to try and push the bit out with its tongue. For a horse that doesn't need it, it doesn't really have a use other than to soak up more of your money buying the thing! It doesnt affect the way the horse rides at all, its just more of a piece of equipment that corrects/ prevents behaviors.

Thats about all I know about english bridles, lol, I'm a western girl myself. However, I suggest that if you don't know what a certain piece of tack does, the general rule is don't buy it. Talk to a trainer, and see what they think your horse needs, whether it be for showing purposes or because you think your horse might go better in something else.
 

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The flash was originally designed for showjumpers, in my understanding, to offer the bit stabilization and jaw control of the drop noseband, along with a good attachment point for a standing martingale at the cavesson portion of the noseband. Ideally, not for "tying the mouth shut" unless there's some extreme, irreparable reason the horse is gapping, it's more for stabilizing "sloppier" bits like loose rings or french links. Rarely is it truly necessary to ride a horse who has had a good foundation and understanding of the aids in a flash bridle. They're currently pretty fashionable to be used as a "quick fix" for horses ridden from the front back, or that evade the bit. Watch your discipline rulebook for how legal they are in your events if you're competing... hunter classes I'm pretty sure have issues with them in competition.

As far as introducing it, I'd just start with it fairly loose and gradually tighten it to the correct tension as the horse acclimates. If it's so tight that the cavesson band is being pulled down, it's too tight and can restrict breathing. You should be able to slide your finger around the band, and fit 2 fingers between the band and the horse's face.
 

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Good post scoutrider

Saved me a lot of typing , by the way the ' Flash ' was named after an english showjumper called -- Flash -- who wanted a Drop noseband action that he could attach a standing martingale onto, hence the drop action on a cavesson noseband.
 

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And figure 8s aren't for keeping the mouth shut either, their purpose is to keep the horse from crossing their jaw. The design also promotes expansion of the nostrils, so it's a popular choice for racing, eventing and other galloping sports.
 

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by the way the ' Flash ' was named after an english showjumper called -- Flash -- who wanted a Drop noseband action that he could attach a standing martingale onto, hence the drop action on a cavesson noseband.
That's really interesting! I never knew that that's how the flash got it's name. Seems like I learn something every day on this forum! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
all very good information! I figured the 'flash' was for keeping the horses mouth shut, which I don't think is an issue for me...I just liked the way they look. Guess I'll stick with a regular old bridle with regular old noseband
 

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A flash might not be "supposed to keep the mouth shut" but in my experience, around here, that's exactly how they're used. :?
 
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